You know your love is strong when the only thing that can tear it apart is an editorial decision.
That’s how Peter Parker and Mary-Jane Watson had their love torn asunder, at least. If not for the need of some sort of retcon to make Spider-Man a swinging single again after nearly 20 years of marriage, the two of them would still be going strong in the Marvel Universe.
Sure, Gwen Stacey was the first to capture Peter’s heart and see past his geeky love of science, and there’s no question that her death was one of the most tragic Spidey stories, but it’s that amazing love between Mary-Jane and her tiger that gave us a fun yet mature comic book couple, trying to maintain a marriage and a superhero identity.
Some of my most favourite Spider-Man stories have been linked to the marriage of Peter and Mary-Jane. Think back to Kraven’s Last Hunt (first known as Fearful Symmetry) – while much was made of the fact that Kraven managed to put down his longtime enemy, writer J.M. DeMatteis and artist Mike Zeck put just as much emphasis on MJ and her fear and worry about the fate of her husband. When the two are ultimately reunited, the fade to black is perfect.
It’s hard being a superhero’s wife, but Mary-Jane managed to cope and succeed. This was a couple you wanted to see make it. And if not for the need to turn back the clock to a younger Spider-Man, much like the one of the late 60’s and 70’s, their love would have continued on in the comics.
As for the films, the Spider-Man trilogy managed to make Peter and Mary-Jane’s relationship believable and just as difficult, with its own iconic moments thrown in. No doubt about, they’re one of pop culture’s greatest love stories.